New US-UK partnership to tackle antibiotic resistance

Wellcome is part of a major new transatlantic partnership to tackle the growing threat of drug-resistant infections. It will speed up the development of new antibiotics, diagnostics and other therapies. 

Researcher testing bacteria for antibiotic sensitivity

Credit: Sotiris Zafeiris, Wellcome Images

Testing bacteria for antibiotic sensitivity

The Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) brings together leaders from industry, philanthropy, government and academia. 

It could provide hundreds of millions of pounds over the next five years to boost the antimicrobial drug-development pipeline.

The international partnership will support a suite of products through early preclinical development. CARB-X aims to get products to a stage where private or public investors can then take them forward.

Wellcome will play a key role in selecting and overseeing projects funded through CARB-X. 

Other partners include:

  • the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, in the US government Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response 
  • the Antimicrobial Resistance Centre, a public-private initiative based in Alderley Park, Cheshire
  • Boston University School of Law, which will host the CARB-X executive team made up of experts with decades of experience in antibiotic drug development
  • the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID)
  • MassBio in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and California Life Sciences Institute in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which will host a new Collaborative Hub for Early Antibiotic Discovery 
  • RTI International.

Wellcome has invested £286.7m in drug-resistant infection activities since 2004-05 and will draw on our track record to provide guidance for product developers funded through CARB-X. We will help to monitor project progress and provide feedback and advice through each milestone.

"Drug-resistant infections are already costing lives all over the world,” said Wellcome Director Dr Jeremy Farrar. “A problem of this scale can only be tackled through coordinated international effort to curb our massive over use of existing antibiotics, and to accelerate the development of new ones.”

Read more on Boston University’s website.

Wellcome will be accepting applications from early 2017. Potential applicants can visit the CARB-X website.